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I first took Pilates in college—for credit, because I was at a bougie Northeastern school—and I loved it. It spoke to my dancer spirit, and I loved the specificity of the practice, connecting breath with movement and being precise and intentional about every action.
I came back to practicing about the same time that I started running, when I joined a gym that offered mat classes. But after some life upheaval I stopped going and just ran more. Ultimately this resulted in stress fractures in both shins and a strained hamstring. Lesson learned! Once my injuries healed I joined a new gym, in part, because it also offered Pilates mat classes. I loved the classes and the gym so much that I decided to get certified to teach about three years ago.
Pilates can do wonders for runners. Its focus is on the entire powerhouse, not just your abdominals, but all the supporting core musculature including your hips and lower back. It can shore up your body to ward off a ton of common running injuries.
I recognize Pilates can be cost-prohibitive and intimidating, but I promise it’s not all graceful women hanging upside-down on what looks like a torture apparatus, and a lot of the exercises are simple things you can do at home. Starting right now!
Here are five of my favorite Pilates exercises for runners.